Former Gov. Rendell backs Evans over Fattah in congressional primary

State Rep. Dwight Evans has the endorsement of former Gov. Ed Rendell. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

State Rep. Dwight Evans has the endorsement of former Gov. Ed Rendell. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell is endorsing state Rep. Dwight Evans’ run to replace indicted Congressman Chaka Fattah, who is facing federal corruption charges while seeking a 12th term in office.

In a statement released Tuesday, Rendell applauded Evans for focusing his campaign on improving neighborhoods. He said Evans would be “Philadelphia’s champion in Congress.”

“Dwight Evans has dedicated his life to improving the lives of others and the neighborhoods where they live,” said Rendell “He will do for the entire 2nd District what he’s done for his small slice of Philadelphia, rebuilding neighborhoods block by block.”

Evans has been a major force behind West Oak Lane’s transformation. Over the years, he steered millions to the Northwest Philadelphia neighborhood in the name of community revitalization.

“I look forward to working with Gov. Rendell to revitalize neighborhoods in the 2nd District with better, more affordable housing, jobs that pay, and continue to work to reduce poverty across our region,” said Evans in the same release.

Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf endorsed Evans. Mayor Jim Kenney is also supporting the campaign along with a string of unions.

Fattah is charged with racketeering, bribery, wire fraud and other offenses for allegedly misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions, public funds, and charitable donations.  He has won the official endorsement of the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee as well as the Service Employees International Union.  

Fattah’s trial is scheduled for six days after the April primary.

Philadelphia ward leader Dan Muroff and Lower Merion Township Commissioner Brian Gordon are also running.

The crowded primary is very unusual.  Fattah often ran unopposed for re-election and when he did have opposition won easily.

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